Norethisterone, also known as artificial progesterone, is typically administered to female patients with heavy menstrual flow. Commonly marketed as Utovlan and Primolut, it can help females regulate their heavy bleeding.
Norethisterone is a synthetic steroid that belongs to a group of progestogens and is produced artificially. At room temperature, it is a white crystalline powder (WHO, 2015). In presence of light, it can be unstable, and emits acrid fumes and smoke when decomposed under heat (Akron, 2009). It is generally inhaled, injected dermally or ingested in form of tablets. It is available commercially as dermal patches or oral tablets.
How It Works?
While most women use contraceptives to delay their period, Norethisterone is also an effective period delayer. Progesterone is a sexual hormone that helps regulate the female menstrual cycle on a regular basis. Using progestogen based pills such as Primolut cannot only delay period but also help regulate heavy flow and menstrual cramps for women suffering from hormonal conditions such as endometriosis. Norethisterone triggers the natural receptors in the body by mimicking the effects of progesterone.
Indications for the Drug
Norethisterone can be used by women not only for delaying period flow but also for:
- Treatment of breast cancers
- Treatment of endometriosis
- Treatment of heavy or painful periods
- Treatment of unexpected uterine bleeding
- Treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms such as mood disturbances, water retention, migraine, headache and breast pain
Effect of Dosage
Since Norethisterone is female hormones, the amount of dosage can cause different effects on patients. This allows a variety of uses for the drug. When used in minimal dosages, Norethisterone can help regulate abnormal levels of progesterone within the body and prevent pregnancy. When used in medium dosages, it can act as a painkiller for endometrial pain and regulate heavy blood flow. Advanced dosages of Norethisterone on the other hand, are used in breast cancer treatments (Bakken, et al., 2011).
Normal Dosage for Adults
Norethisterone is not recommended for the children and the elderly. Normal dosages are dependent on the condition and desired results, and on average contain the following:
1. Stopping a Period
If you need to stop or delay your period for whatever reason, you need to take one 5mg tablet of Norethisterone three days before your expected period date, three times a day. The period will be stopped immediately, and can be resumed two to three days after stopping the tablet consumption.
2. Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome can be treated on a long term basis by continuing the drug dosage for several months. Two to three tablets per day are advised to be taken from the 19th day to the 26th day of the menstrual cycle.
3. Abnormal Bleeding Prevention
If an abnormal bleeding happens unexpectedly, it can be stopped by taking Norethisterone three times a day for ten days straight. While the bleeding may stop within one to three days, it is recommended to continue the treatment for ten days. If the abnormal bleeding occurs on a regular basis, then a tablet twice a day can help bring it back to normal if taken from the 19th to 26th day of the menstrual cycle.
4. Heavy Period
For a heavy period, taking Norethisterone from the 19th day of the menstrual cycle up to the 26th day of the menstrual cycle can help lighten the blood flow.
5. Painful Period
Consumption of Norethisterone, three times a day for twenty days, starting from the 5th day of the menstrual cycle, can help get rid of painful period. Normal treatment continues for three to four months for long-term, effective results.
Treatment of endometriosis with Norethisterone is long-term and continues on without any break for six months or longer. The first stage of treatment includes the inhibition of spotting, which is light bleeding. The second stage of treatment occurs after the bleeding has stopped. During the spotting phase, dosage begins from two tablets per day, and may be increased up to five tablets depending on bleeding intensity. During the second stage, two tablets a day are usually effective.
7. Breast Cancer
For treatment of breast cancer, dosage of eight to twelve tablets per day is recommended depending on the condition of the disease.
Before taking Norethisterone, medical advice should be sought if the patient:
- Has any allergy to Norethisterone
- Has sugar intolerance
- Is pregnant or breast-feeding
- Is taking any other medicine in addition to Norethisterone
- Has any liver disease, diabetes or blood condition
Norethisterone is a very popular and effective tablet when it comes to dealing progesterone-related disorders. However, it should not be taken as an over-the-counter medicine, and medical advice should be taken before beginning any form of treatment with this drug.
Akron, 2009. The Chemical Database. s.l.:s.n.
Bakken, K. et al., 2011. Menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: impact of different treatments. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.. International Journal of Cancer., 1 Jan, 128(1), pp. 144-56.
WHO, 2015. Norethisteronum/Norethisterone. WHO Drug Information, 29(3), pp. 366-70.